Just got back from the 2014 Summer Retreat last night at Redwood Christian Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Wow, what an awesome time of worship, fellowship, experiencing the beauty of creation and being taught and challenged by our guest speaker, Mr. Dennis Shin. On Friday morning, Dennis reminded us that the beginnings of revival are truly a resuscitation. It is a revival from death. Someone who is unconscious or close to death needs an outside source to give them help. Ephesians 2:1 reminds that we were spiritually dead. But God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us, to give us life-saving breath and resuscitate us.
On Friday night, Dennis gave us the 2nd revival word: remembrance. In Revelation 3, the church of Sardis is given a startling message. They are told to "wake up!" and directed to remember what they have received and heard and hold fast to it and repent. This was a church that had a reputation for being alive but they really were dead inside. The question was posed, "Where are you really at with the God right now? Do you have a reputation for being alive but are really dead inside?"
On Saturday morning, the 3rd revival word was recall. In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist writes, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." The way in which we can keep pure and keep close to God is to recall God's word.
On Saturday night, the 4th revival word was renewal. 2 Corinthians 4:16,18 tells us "therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day...so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." The cares and afflictions of this world, however painful are just temporary. Even though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are renewed when we hold on to our eternal hope in Christ.
On Sunday morning, the last revival word was remain. In John 15:5, Jesus declares, "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." When we abide and remain in Christ revival happens, and fruit is produced. Being a disciple of Christ is not about saying you are a Christian, merely going to a retreat and saying a prayer to receive Christ, or being a good person. A true follower of Christ shows evidence of their relationship with Christ - transformation in their life and attitudes, a desire to worship at church and receive support and encouragement from other believers and a desire to know more about God through prayer and the Word.
As we do all of these things: remember, recall, renew, and remain, it clears the path for true revival to occur. Has God truly resuscitated you? Will you allow God's Spirit to work with you to keep you alive and vibrant in your faith and daily life?
Thanks to all who helped make the retreat a wonderful time! Worship team: Jeff Lam, Natalie Kwong, Michael Mung; Albert Mung and Meggy Lau; small group leaders: Jimmy Chan, Flora Ko, Tim Wai, Stephanie Lam.
Be sure and mark it in your calendar for 2015!